Tight contest favors Lady Eagles

   COLUMBIA CITY — The measure of a good team is not only their won-loss record, but also how they respond under the pressure of close contests.
   The Columbia City Lady Eagle volleyball team got its share of pressure Thursday night when it played host to the Huntington North Lady Vikings.
   With three of the four varsity games decided by three points or less and two of them going extra points to determine a winner, the Lady Eagles’ response was to take all three of the closest contests in posting a 29-27, 17-25, 26-24, 25-23 win over a quality Huntington North squad.
   Game one was a close contest through the first half until the visitors went on a four-point run to build a 17-12 lead.
   The Lady Eagles responded, fighting their way back to tie the score at 20-20, powered by two kills by middle blocker Paige Moore.
   From that point the two teams see-sawed back and forth with neither taking a lead of more than a point.  With the score tied 27-27, a kill by Moore and a hit by the Vikings that went wide gave the Lady Eagles game one 29-27.
   The Lady Vikings came back in game two moving out to a 12-2 lead on five Columbia City errors before a kill by senior Maddie Hinen broke the string.
   The visitors maintained a 10-point lead, building the lead to 20-10, before the Eagles mounted a comeback closing to 22-16. During that string Hinen recorded two kills and Madi Sjahfiedin another. Two    Huntington kills and an Eagle error gave the visitors game two 25-17.
   Game three was another extra point contest. This time it was the Eagles that broke open a close contest early moving from a 7-7 tie out to a 20-14 lead led by two kills by freshman Kalisha Goree and a stuff block by Hailey Woll.
   The Vikings came back scoring nine straight points to take a 23-20 lead. Three Huntington errors tied the contest at 23-23. A Huntington passing error and a kill by Goree gave the Eagles game three, 26-24.
   In Game four the Eagles broke open a close contest with an 8-3 run that included a kill by Moore and a service ace by Samara Qureshi.  
   The Lady Vikings came back to knot the score at 20-20. Kills by Sjahfiedin and Hinen closed  out game four and the match with a 25-23 win.
   “Tonight even when the girls got behind, they never gave up,” said Eagle coach Trish Hinen. “They fought their way back. All in all I thought they played a very good game.”
   Seniors Maddie Hinen and Paige Moore led the Eagle hitters with 12 and 11 kills respectively. Hinen also recorded 26 digs to lead the Eagles in that category.
   Woll and Moore led the Eagle blockers with three and two blocks. Jenee Schneider collected 20 assists while Qureshi added 17.
   The win raises the Eagle record to 5-3 heading into Saturday’s tournament at Concord.
   The Columbia City JV used a dominating net game in taking a 2-1 win over the Huntington reserves.
   The Lady Eagles took game one 25-16 behind a strong blocking game by Alivia Roberts that took the visitors out of any middle offense. In a closer second game the Lady Eagle JV held off a Huntington rally at the game’s end to win 25-22 and close out the match. Game two featured a hitting barrage from freshman Becca Tourney.
   The Columbia City C team maintained their unblemished record despite being pushed to three games by the Lady Vikings.
   Columbia City got a 25-15 win in game one, with the visitors coming back to take game two 25-17. The Lady Eagles ran out to a 6-0 lead in the deciding game before the Vikings came back to close within two.
   The Lady Eagle squad closed out the match taking game three by a 15-13 count.